I recently saw a photo on social media, in a group that I follow, taken by a young woman who expressed her determination to not let her disability limit her or keep her from following her passion. “I will not let Ataxia stop me from capturing beautiful pictures like the ones (here),” Ashli wrote.

The photos she shared are lovely, as is the picture that her mom took of her on a Florida beach, kneeling in the sand at water’s edge beside her wheelchair to capture the image you see here.

The sunset photo struck me in both its simplicity and its complexity. The glass sphere uses light and its shape to alter what we see through it, completely differently from how our eyes see the same thing.

The simplest things we see in nature are beautiful as they are, and if we add a different perspective, these little elements can be exaggerated, magnified and made even more beautiful.

Ashli’s experience reminded me of my younger son’s penchant for seeing often unnoticed brilliance in nature. For example, he recently posted a fast-motion video, with added music, of clouds that made them look like choreographed dancers performing in the sky.

His comment was “I wonder what the trees see?”

This son also loves sunsets. He has a collection of images of sunsets over water, over golf courses, over bridges, over fields – you get the idea. One might think a sunset is a sunset is a sunset, but that is not true, especially here in the Lowcountry with its open vistas of big sky over our beaches and rivers.

Both our sons are talented photographers. They both were born here and I believe the two of them have covered every square mile of Southern Beaufort County and recorded most of their favorite spots with their photographs – often of cars or structures, but just as often they capture moments in nature that they love.

While the older son usually sees the bigger picture, the younger one has a knack for seeing the tiny ones. He likes the symmetry in the underside of a mushroom cap, or in the way leaves grow on a tree branch.

I find beauty in living things, especially flowers – not just their multitude of colors, but the symmetry of petals, the intricacies of the stamen, and the shapes of their leaves. On a slow drive in less congested areas, I love to catch a glimpse of a deer and just watch what it does.

On the water, I’m always watching for dolphins at play, pelicans swooping in for dinner, and of course, mindful of sneaky alligators.

There is beauty in gentle breezes, soft rain, cute little bugs, seashells, river rocks, oyster beds, and the magic of moonlight casting shadows on things below.

Just as Ashli found a different perspective looking through a glass sphere, so too can we shift our perspective and take another, closer look at the bounty of nature around us. We don’t have to always take photos of what we see. We can just sit calmly and observe.

I have to believe that this sort of observatory behavior has to lead to lower blood pressure, less anxiety, a calmer disposition and a more positive attitude. We could all use a dose of that, couldn’t we?